During the 2023 golf season, Stadium sports betting analyst Nate Jacobson will share his betting targets each week. Here are his thoughts on this week’s Valspar Championship.
Note: Nate will tweet out his official bets when they are placed before the event. He also discusses his bets in all sports on the Sharp Lessons podcast. Subscribe on Spotify and Apple for episodes and follow Stadium Bets on Twitter for more sports betting content.
About the Tournament
The PGA TOUR wraps up the “Florida Swing” this week at the Valspar Championship. The event is played at Copperhead Course at Innisbrook Resort. The field strength takes a dip in quality here after the last two weeks featured a pair of large-purse events in Orlando and Jacksonville. Many players are taking the week off with both the Match Play tournament and Masters just around the corner.
Top of the Board
It’s a relief not to see Jon Rahm or Scottie Scheffler in this field because it’s intimidating to bet against them in 2023. Rahm won three events in the first two months of the season, while Scheffler has two wins, including winning by a five-shot margin at last week’s THE PLAYERS Championship. With those two taking this week off, Justin Thomas (10/1) and Jordan Spieth (12/1) sit atop the odds. I’m going to pass on both of the childhood friends who were just featured in the first episode of Netflix’s “Full Swing” series.
Matt Fitzpatrick and Sam Burns are next in line at 16/1 apiece. Fitzpatrick made my short list of options this week because of his bounce-back potential after a missed cut last week. But a lingering neck injury will keep me off last summer’s U.S. Open winner. Burns is looking to win this event for the third consecutive year, so that’s why he’s priced in this range. Burns has not been in the best form to start 2023, but I’m interested to see how he plays this week at a place he’s had success at.
I’m targeting the 2017 winner of this event in Adam Hadwin (25/1). It’s been awhile since Hadwin has found the winner’s circle, but he has played well this season and finished tied for seventh at Copperhead last year. The Canadian finished tied for 13th at THE PLAYERS last week and ranked fourth in the field in strokes gained tee to green.
Last week, I bet on Wyndham Clark (35/1) for the first time because he has consistently made cuts in 2023 and had strong strokes gained approach numbers at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. I’ll go back to Clark in this spot after he finished tied for 27th at THE PLAYERS. While Clark doesn’t have a notable finish in three appearances at this event, his current form outweighs his shaky course history for me.
Gary Woodland (40/1) stands out because of some strong ball-striking performances in 2023. He finished in ninth at the Genesis Invitational a month ago and ranked third in strokes gained approach that week. Last week, he was strong off the tee and on approach, but was held back by his putter. Woodland won this event back when it was called the Transitions Championship, and while I’m not putting much stock into that 2011 victory, the underlying metrics and a weak field make Woodland one of my favorite bets at this number.
Tyler Duncan (66/1) had a third-place finish in the first event of the “Florida Swing” at the Honda Classic just three weeks ago. He then showed enough to me in the first three rounds of THE PLAYERS to justify a bet on him at a longshot price.
My last bet this week will be on 21-year-old Akshay Bhatia (100/1). He received coverage during the Honda Classic when he shot a second-round 65 last month. The next week he finished second place at the Puerto Rico Open, which earned him Special Temporary Membership on the PGA TOUR. Bhatia has a lot of pedigree from his junior days and is worth a bet at these odds.